Church and World Events

New record number of pilgrims in Compostela

By the beginning of November 2023, the Way of St. James of Compostela had received more than 438,300 pilgrims, according to local authorities. And this figure, which exceeds that of previous years, does not represent the true total of visitors, since many of them are not registered in the official records.

The route, also known as the Main Street of Europe, is travelled every year by pilgrims from all over the world, who make the journey on foot, horseback or bicycle in order to venerate the relics of the Apostle St. James the Greater in the cathedral dedicated to him.

More participants in Barcelona’s Night Adoration

Despite widespread secularization, the number of Night Adoration devotees in the city of Barcelona continues to grow. In 2023, seventy new members were admitted, most of them young people, during the annual ceremony held in St. Therese of the Child Jesus Parish.

There are now more than three hundred and fifty members of the faithful registered to adore the Blessed Sacrament in this Spanish city, sacrificing a few hours of sleep to cover the hours of the vigil, which lasts from 10pm to 6am every night of the year.

In addition to the increase in worshippers, the number of Perpetual Adoration chapels in the region has grown from one to ten in recent years.

Christmas massacre in Nigeria

Christmas festivities in Nigeria were once again marked by blood. Between December 23 and 26, twenty-six villages in Plateau State were attacked by Fulani extremists, leaving almost two hundred people dead and more than three hundred wounded.

The atrocities were carried out with great coordination and speed, so that the Christians barely had time to react in order to save their lives. In some places, the faithful were shot and their homes, crops, churches and health centres burned. According to the spokesman for the Diocese of Pankshin, the attackers’ aim “was to inflict maximum pain and destruction on the Christians.”

French seminarians have a traditional view of the priesthood

A survey carried out by the Catholic newspaper La Croix among French seminarians revealed that their conception of the priestly ministry differs greatly from the standards commonly applied to contemporary youth.

Of the 434 seminarians who took part in the survey, 72 per cent come from families that attend Sunday Mass and 61 per cent consider the family to be the main nucleus for transmitting faith. In fact, for 36 per cent of them their vocation began to take shape before they were ten years old, and their parents were decisive figures in their acceptance of the divine call in 62 per cent of cases.

As for the future priesthood, 73 per cent of the seminarians intend to wear a cassock regularly, plan to wear it habitually, and 70 per cent want to make the celebration of the Sacred Mysteries and the Sacraments the centre of their pastoral life, above preaching or teaching.

Dom Guéranger’s beatification process begins

The Episcopal Conference of French Bishops has authorized the opening of the beatification process for Dom Prosper Guéranger, famous for restoring monastic life at the Abbey of St. Peter of Solesmes and Gregorian chant in France in the 19th century.

Prosper-Louis-Pascal Guéranger was born on April 4, 1805 in western France and was ordained a priest in 1827. When he learned that the famous Abbey of Solesmes was to be demolished, he bought the building and with the help of his bishop and some friends re-established monastic life on the site, encouraging the practice of the Benedictine rule, Gregorian chant and the stirring up of the faithful around the Sacred Liturgy, the objective for which he wrote his famous work, The Liturgical Year. Dom Guéranger died on January 30, 1875.

People with faith are happier than atheists

Dr. Rakib Ehsan, a research associate at the Institute for the Impact of Faith in Life, published research in November 2023 entitled Keep the Faith: Mental Health in the UK, which amply demonstrates the positive impact that the practice of religion can have on people’s mental health and outlook on life. The study was carried out with 2,004 adults across the UK, including Scotland and Northern Ireland, and its most telling finding is the numerical difference between those who have faith and declare themselves happy, and those who do not believe and can say the same.

Among those interviewed, 82 per cent of those who attend a religious service at least once a week say they are happy, 81 per cent feel psychological well-being, are satisfied with their lives and confront the challenges they face with confidence, 75 per cent look to the future with optimism and 79 per cent have a high level of emotional self-control.

On the other hand, of those who never take part in religious ceremonies, only 56 per cent are happy and have a high level of emotional self-control, 52 per cent feel psychological well-being, 58 per cent are satisfied with their lives, 61 per cent are confident in the face of difficulties and 46 per cent look to the future with optimism.

Possible discovery of remains of Noah’s ark

Recent research seems to confirm the hypothesis of some archaeologists that the rocky mass that makes up the so-called Durupinar Formation is in fact the remains of Noah’s ark. The geological structure is located in the Doğubayazıt district of Ağrı, Turkey, twenty-nine kilometres south of the summit of Mount Ararat, the place recorded in the Bible as the spot where the ark settled after the flood.

The formation was identified by the Turkish army in the early 1950s during a mapping mission, and attracted attention because of the impressive coincidence of its measurements with the biblical description of the ark. Now the results of analyses of archaeological samples released by the Noah’s Ark Scans project, responsible for the research, have confirmed the presence in the area of clay elements, marine materials and shellfish dating from between 5,500 and 3,000 BC, which has led researchers to favour the possibility that the discovery is authentic.

Spanish families promoting “Adolescence without cell phones”

Also in Spain, hundreds of families are joining the Adolescence without cell phones initiative, which aims to curb the excessive use of smartphones and other screens by young people. The group started in the Poblenou neighbourhood in Barcelona and already has thousands of followers across the country.

The parents involved have been holding talks and meetings to discuss how to tackle the dangers that cybernetics is bringing into the heart of their families, and how to avoid the irreversible damage of excessive screen exposure in their children’s education. They hope to achieve a ban on the use of smartphones in schools during the school day and to postpone teenagers’ access to these devices.




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